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Alcorn v. George Mason Mortgage, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 23, 2016

KRIS ALCORN, et. al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GEORGE MASON MORTGAGE, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

         Plaintiffs Kris Alcorn ("Alcorn") and Christian Cartwright ("Cartwright") (collectively, "Plaintiffs") bring this putative class action against Defendant George Mason Mortgage, LLC ("George Mason"), alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. ("FLSA").[1] Specifically, Alcorn and Cartwright claim that George Mason failed to pay them and their similarly situated co-workers any overtime wages in violation of federal law.

         Pending before this Court are Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3); Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8); and Defendant's Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply (ECF No. 22). The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3) is MOOT;[2] Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8) is GRANTED; and Defendant's Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply (ECF No. 22) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This Court accepts as true the facts alleged in the plaintiffs' complaint. See Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011).

         Alcorn and Cartwright worked as Mortgage Loan Officers ("MLOs") at George Mason in Frederick, Maryland from about April 2012 to March 2013 and March 2012 to August 2013, respectively. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 14. An MLO's job duties include making cold calls to prospective borrowers, informing prospective borrowers about George Mason's loan products, and obtaining supporting documents for loan applications. Id. ¶ 28. George Mason did not record MLOs' employment hours. Id. ¶ 35. The company regularly required MLOs to work over forty hours per week, but never paid its MLOs overtime wages. Id. ¶¶ 24-25. Instead, George Mason paid its MLOs a flat, monthly salary drawn from their commission earnings. Id. ¶ 26.

         On September 15, 2015, over two years after each plaintiff ceased employment at George Mason, Plaintiffs filed the present action against George Mason, alleging a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. ("FLSA"). George Mason subsequently moved to dismiss (ECF No. 3) pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In relevant part, George Mason argues that Alcorn and Cartwright's Complaint should be dismissed because (1) they have failed to meet the FLSA's two-year statute of limitations; (2) they have failed to allege facts sufficient to establish that George Mason willfully violated the FLSA, and therefore the FLSA's three-year statute of limitations provision does not apply to their claims; and (3) Plaintiffs have failed to allege that they worked overtime. Alcorn and Cartwright subsequently filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8) and attached a proposed Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8-1). George Mason opposes Plaintiff's Motion, arguing that the proposed Amended Complaint would be futile because it would be subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for substantially the same reasons discussed in its Motion to Dismiss.[3] See Def.'s Resp. Opp'n, ECF No. 14. This Court notes that, in opposing Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendant appears to have abandoned its argument that Plaintiffs failed to allege sufficiently any overtime hours worked. As such, this Court will focus solely on Defendant's arguments with respect to the FLSA statutes of limitations.

         STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is "to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

         The Supreme Court's opinions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), "require that complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater specificity than previously was required." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). In Twombly, the Supreme Court articulated "[t]wo working principles" that courts must employ when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, while a court must accept as true the factual allegations contained in the complaint, the court is not so constrained when the factual allegations are conclusory or devoid of any reference to actual events. United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979). Moreover, a court need not accept any asserted legal conclusions drawn from the proffered facts. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. (stating that "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to plead a claim); see also Wag More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir. 2012) ("Although we are constrained to take the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need not accept legal conclusions couched as facts or unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." (internal quotation marks omitted)). Second, a complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege "a plausible claim for relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. LLC, 680 F.3d at 365 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         B. Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply

         As a general rule, this Court will not allow parties to file sur-replies. Local Rule 105.2(a) (D. Md. 2011); seeMTB Servs., Inc. v. Tuckman-Barbee Const. Co., No. 1:12-cv-02109-RDB, 2013 WL 1224484, *6 (D. Md. Mar. 26, 2013). In MTB Services, this Court explained that a "party moving for leave to file a surreply must show a need for a surreply." Id. (internal citation omitted). A court may permit a plaintiff to file a surreply if "a defendant raises new legal issues or new theories in its reply brief." Id. (citing TECH USA, Inc. v. Evans,592 F.Supp.2d 852, 862 (D. Md. 2009)). Even further "[s]urreplies may be permitted when the moving party would be unable to contest matters presented to the court for ...


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